Hutchison Vale player, 13, dribbles ball from Murrayfield to Edinburgh outskirts to raise money for Street Soccer Scotland
A 13-year-old Edinburgh fundraiser has taken part in Scotland’s biggest ever football relay by dribbling a specially made tartan ball from Murrayfield Stadium to the outskirts of Edinburgh in the middle of the night to raise money for Street Soccer Scotland.
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Holly Blackham, an aspiring Aberdeen FC player, took on the challenge to complete the Edinburgh leg of ‘The Big Dribble’ which began on Friday morning in Aberdeen as part of Street Soccer Scotland’s Virtual Kiltwalk activities this year.
Starting at Aberdeen’s Pittodrie Stadium on Friday, April 23, the tartan ball was dribbled by volunteers down the country and over the Queensferry Crossing to Edinburgh, where Holly took over to continue its journey to its final destination of Hampden in Glasgow.
In total 65 volunteers helped the tartan ball travel across 230 miles, the length from Pittodrie to Hampden.
The ball reached Murrayfield Stadium at around 2am on Sunday and was dribbled to Edinburgh’s outskirts by Hutchison Vale player Holly past Roseburn Primary School and the Hutchison Vale clubhouse before being taken over by Heather Manson, Street Soccer Scotland’s head of fundraising at 3am who continued it on its journey to its final destination Hampden Park, the home of football in Scotland.
The teenager's efforts have raised more than £650 for Street Soccer Scotland, which will be generously topped up 50 per cent by The Hunter Foundation.
The charity, which was founded in 2009, uses football inspired training and personal development as a medium to empower people who are affected by social exclusion, to make positive changes in their lives.
Holly said: “Last year I did a keepy-up challenge to raise money for Social Bite and completed 10,000 keepy-ups in 11 days.
“It was great to support that charity and as this year has been difficult for so many people and I wanted to do something else to help. Football plays a big role in my life and I have played for Hutchison Vale for the past few years.
“The Big Dribble was something I was keen to be a part of as it allows me to help others through my love of football.
“For me, football is about so much more than just kicking a ball. It’s about playing as a team, having the right mentality and working hard to put in the effort. Street Soccer Scotland have a lot of the same values and see the effect football can have and I want to support them to do the great work they carry out in communities.”
David Duke, founder and CEO of Street Soccer Scotland told Lanarkshire Live: “We’re excited to launch our first participation event involving some amazing people from across Scotland.
"We’ve been looking at hosting a country-wide event for a while now, but with COVID putting those plans on hold, we’re delighted that we’ve found a solution in 'The Big Dribble'.
"It will help unite people in a nationwide challenge while safely taking part in their own local areas.
"These fundraising efforts are massively appreciated and we’re extremely grateful to everyone who has continued to support Street Soccer Scotland throughout this challenging time.”
There is still time to donate to Holly’s fundraiser, where all donations will be topped up by 50 per cent.
Donations can be made on Holly’s Virtual Kiltwalk page.